Opinion
The Real Protectionism: Defending DC’s Crony Globalist Fake ‘Free Trade’
Seton Motley  | March 06, 2018

President Donald Trump wants to fix the nightmare mess that is DC’s crony globalist fake “free trade” - and conservatives all across the nation are up in arms.

A lot of really great conservative thinkers are very, very angry with Trump’s tariff threat.

(Please note: They at this point remain threats - not tariffs. Read “The Art of the Deal.” Very often you threaten, but never enact - the threat is enough to better the deal.)

And as much as I like and respect so very many of these conservative thinkers - they are all very, very wrong.

A lot of what you get from them is a lot of talking points - spewed in Tourette’s Syndrome fashion. “Tariffs are taxes!” “Protectionism is bad!” “Free trade is good!”

The very obvious secret is I agree with all of these points.

The other very obvious secret is none of them apply to what DC pretends is “free trade.”

Globalist big business robber barons have spent the last half-century-plus lobbying DC for more and more one-sided, America-last trade deals in which America removes all of our government impediments - tariffs, domestic subsidies, import caps, etc. - to our world’s-largest now-$18-trillion-per-year economy. This thereby allows the unfettered flow of goods and services from all round the world.

We have done absolutely nothing about the very many government impediments - tariffs, domestic subsidies, import caps, etc. - that just about every other nation imposes upon us, severely limiting the flow of our goods and services into their relatively paltry markets.

This has been one long, ongoing trade war declared and engaged in by every nation on the planet - except the U.S., and one incessantly long run of titanically stupid trade policy. This is Mike Tyson in his prime - negotiating away each round of his fight with…the head of the Chess Club.

We are the biggest economy on the planet and we’ve been negotiating like we’re Somalia.

These terrible deals have been a key component in our nation’s loss of millions and millions of jobs. And the loss of who should be key allies in the fight for less government domestically.

Rather than fight for less government domestically - thereby making it more tenable to remain in the States - the globalist big business robber barons flipped the script.

They got DC to emplace ever more America-last trade deals - and then moved their businesses to the countries from which they had just negotiated unfettered access to our economy, costing us millions of gigs and escaping all of our stupid domestic government - and all of the government impediments the other countries emplace upon U.S. exports.

Now their new host nations’ continued protectionism benefits them. Heck, their new host nations often subsidize their companies.

Meanwhile, America’s small businesses - which can’t move overseas - have to stay here and get pummeled by ever-expanding domestic government and the relocated-globalist-big-business-robber-baron subsidized-and-protectionism-protected goods and services - being brought in unfettered to compete against them.

These small domestic businesses very often cannot endure the relentless pummelings - and succumb and go under. Thereby costing us millions of additional gigs.

All of this has for decades been DC’s definition of “free trade.” It has absolutely nothing to do with actual free trade, free markets, or freedom of any sort.

And this is what conservatives all across the country are in the midst of defending.

American policy isn’t a moment in time, it is a continuum. Protesting Trump’s threatened-but-not-yet-emplaced tariffs - is a moment-in-time response to his moment-in-time response, while missing entirely the continuum that he isn’t missing.

But we understand this continuum concept - in most other policy areas. And we almost always know that the original sin and sinner is government.

To wit: The American health care system is as screwed up as it is because government started “helping” with it more than fifty years ago (are you yet noticing a timeline trend?).

The advent of government medicine Medicare and Medicaid was one of the original sins.

These programs over-regulate in ways damaging to the entire sector. And they do not pay health care providers enough money for their goods and services.

So providers are forced to price increase to cover the regulatory costs. And price shift the government medicine deficits to the private sector payers, charging them more for the same goods and services to make up the government deficiency.

This further warped the marketplace, which then bizarrely served as the alleged predicate for even more government “help.” Lather, rinse, repeat….

Until government had so badly screwed up the sector - government felt it could get away with imposing Obamacare, which its advocates readily admitted was a gateway to single-payer, government-only health care.

All because government screwed it up in the first place.

We less government types have always understood this government-induced devolution in health care.

Why can’t we apply this same historical vision and understanding to the decades of awful trade deals the very same government has been cutting?

Ok: You don’t like Trump’s proposed tariffs - I get it.

But at least Trump knows there is a HUGE problem that needs to be addressed (and has known it for decades).

So until someone amongst the many contesting conservatives acknowledges there actually is a HUGE problem - I’ll be siding with the guy who knows there is, and is looking to address it.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not represent the views of Townhall.com.

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